be a CHALLENGER…
Roy & Dee Kay!!!
The punch flew past his face by few inches when he realized that it was not over…the game was not over. Dodging the next punch, he held his opponent by the waist and dragged him to the left corner of the ring. Pinning him down, he started his flurry of punches blindly on all over him. The challenger was completely helpless and too tired to put any further resistance. The perfectly build body of the challenger kept welcoming the shower of blows. The fifth punch was extraordinarily powerful and broke his lower ribs. Blood oozed out his mouth but he didn’t make any sound. The next few blows hit his face and crushed his perfect jawline…cut his soft eyelids and marred his face…The boxer kept on smashing his fist onto him, as hard as he could…his eyes fixated only towards the championship cup…his ears listened only to the audiences’ cheers…his mind imagined only him standing as the last person…He did not care whether the challenger was next to dead or whether there were any bones left unharmed…The uncanny spirit of revenge had gripped his soul and the unquenchable thirst for the win had filled his heart…
The cheers of audience slowly faded into silence and then abruptly evolved into screams…The referee was too scared to go nearby the boxer and thus kept blowing his whistle like a madman…The punches did not stop until the mallet hit the gong and marked the end of the round…The boxer pulled himself away from his challenger and it was then he saw the disaster that he had committed. The opponent stood fixed to the pillar, holding the ropes on both his sides. There were numerous scars all across his chest and stomach…the deep bruises and cuts all over his face… blood spilled out of the skin from almost all the cuts…the red fluid exuded out of his nose and teeth…
Finally, the challenger loosened his grip on the ropes and tried to take a step forward. But his body was too weak and being unable to balance itself, fell on the floor with a heavy thud. The challenger was down for good. An uncomfortable silence filled the arena…there were no cheers…there were no chants…everyone sat still fixed to their seats and their eyes transfixed to the ring…concentrating and focusing on the opponent’s immovable carcass…hoping for a slight movement…wishing for a sign of breath…praying that he was not dead…
It was the final boxing match of the season and Ayan was the challenger challenging the championship title…A fine lad both in terms of looks and character, Ayan had always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his superhero – his father, a failed boxer. His father was his idol and his God. The loss of his father ran through his veins in form of his passion for pursuit of becoming the greatest fighter. He had trained day and night all by himself, remembering how his father used to fight, for a single purpose and one way journey to his destiny. He was completely aware that his match was against a veteran boxer – the winner of the title for the past ten years. The boxer was known for his knockout matches and none of his opponent had made out alive of the ring. Ayan knew that the fight was his only opportunity to seek redemption for his father and to prove everyone that his hero was not a loser.
The referee ran towards the challenger, pushing away the boxer who stood on his way. He bent over Ayan’s body and held his wrist, trying to feel a pulse. The sight was not new for the referee. He knew somewhere in his mind that the end of the match was not going to be any different from the previous ones. The faces of the dead challengers kept popping up in front of his eyes, juxtaposing Ayan’s face to the last image. He was lost in his thoughts for a moment when all of a sudden he felt a pump in the veins of the wrist. He jumped away from the body in shock, unable to believe himself and then…
…Like a child, the referee shouted,
“He is alive…he is not dead…Oh, all heavens…he is still here…Call medics for Christ sake…anyone can u… “
The words abruptly halted in midair and all the spectators gasped seeing movements in the challenger’s body. There was still a last round to be fought …a final match to be completed…a last redemption to be sought…Ayan gathered all his strength and pulled his numbed parts together. Yelling and screaming in pain, he, at last, stood on his feet…held up his fists…and with a smirk on his blood-quenched face teased the boxer to try to hit him again…
Each one of the soul, including the judges, stood up from their seats in shock and surprise, unable to fathom the situation. The sight was next to a miracle, which was never seen in the history of any boxing match. Amidst the silence of the audience and the cries of Ayan’s, the nonplussed boxer ran towards the challenger aimlessly…
“What could have happened next?” The old man asked the teenagers in the class, closing his old journal.
The students gave the teacher a mixed response. Some, who admired Ayan’s courage, wanted him to win the final round. Some, who were being practical, said Ayan would lose the match; nonetheless, it was not a movie where the hero could rise again after having all his bones broken…
The old man smiled and replied,
“It is not important who won-may be the boxer or Ayan – it doesn’t matter really. What most important is, that Ayan had a dream and he went to the extreme lengths in order to fulfill it.
Life is like a boxer. It will at times throw numerous punches at us, rendering us weak…making us lose confidence…forcing us to let go of our passion…”
An innocent confused girl interrupted him,“Teacher, how many times then, do you think we will get hit? “
The old man was pleased that she was curious.
“It doesn’t matter how many times you can get hit or how many times you fall…
What matters most is that you stand back on your feet after facing all those punches,
And once you get up, you won’t fall ever again…no matter how hard you get hit”
The little girl smiled and added…”BE a CHALLENGER Then…”
* School-bell rang *
yet everyone sat waiting for the old man to reveal the end…but he did not say a word…his message was profound and deeper than the end result of the match. Slowly, the class dispersed and as the last student left the threshold, the old man took out his torn wallet from his back pocket of trouser and opened it.
There it was…a yellowish almost crumpled small photograph of a boxer. He pulled it out safely and kissed it. Tears rolled down his wrinkled scarred skin as he said softly…
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